Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (late 1st cent. BC and early 1st cent. AD) was an engineer and architect for the Emperor Augustus. Putting his significant theoretical and practical knowledge into written form, Vitruvius stands alone as the single greatest source on ancient architecture.
His one surviving work De architectura, written in 10 separate volumes, describes detailed aspects of Roman architecture, engineering, and city planning. Vitruvius remained highly influential throughout the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance; he inspired a great return to classical architecture.
Not only does he provide an invaluable resource into the architecture of ancient Rome, but provides his own unique view of Roman life, culture, philosophy and art.